CityPress - - Sport - To be. – Sport24 See col­lage) PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

espite the brevity of Aus­tralia’s cap­tain, Michael Clarke, when he in­sisted his team could still “save the Ashes” af­ter a hu­mil­i­at­ing first day in the fourth test against Eng­land at Trent Bridge on Thurs­day, it was not

It was a day so dis­mal that it forced Clarke to has­ten the an­nounce­ment of his re­tire­ment from in­ter­na­tional cricket.

Clarke’s men were skit­tled out for just 60 in 18.3 overs – the short­est com­pleted first in­nings in test history – af­ter los­ing the toss in over­cast but not to­tally “un­playable” con­di­tions.

Stu­art Broad took a test-best eight wick­ets for 15 runs in 9.3 overs on his Not­ting­hamshire home ground as the fast-medium bowler be­came only the fifth English crick­eter to take 300 test wick­ets.

By stumps, Joe Root’s un­beaten 124 – his sec­ond cen­tury of the se­ries – had taken Eng­land to 274 for four and a lead of 214 runs.

This match was mock­ingly dubbed as one whose match re­port could be wrapped up “in 140 char­ac­ters on Twit­ter”.

A great deal of fun has been poked at the Aussies since their dis­mal first day. (

Yesterday, Eng­land wrapped up the test, de­feat­ing Aus­tralia by an in­nings and 78 runs early on the third day to take an un­beat­able 3-1 lead in the five-match se­ries.

The vic­tory also saw Eng­land re­gain­ing the prized Ashes af­ter they were white­washed 5-0 in Aus­tralia in 2013/14.

It also gave them a fourth suc­ces­sive Ashes se­ries win on home soil, with Aus­tralia’s last Ashes tri­umph in Bri­tain in 2001.

Go­ing into this se­ries, Aus­tralia were the sec­on­dranked test team, with Eng­land ranked well be­low them, in sixth. To add to the shock, Eng­land per­formed par­tic­u­larly poorly at the ODI World Cup ear­lier this year, while Aus­tralia won it for a record fifth time.

The man­ner of the win was also sur­pris­ing be­cause Eng­land’s star fast-bowler, James An­der­son, had been ruled out of the match with an in­jury. Ben Stokes had to fill in, and did so bril­liantly.

Af­ter Aus­tralia col­lapsed to 60 all out in 111 balls on Thurs­day’s first day, Eng­land in re­ply made 391 for nine de­clared, Joe Root even­tu­ally top-scor­ing with 130 on Fri­day.

In Aus­tralia’s sec­ond in­nings, all-rounder Stokes took a test-best six for 36 be­fore Durham team-mate Mark Wood, a fast bowler, com­pleted the win when last man Nathan Lyon played on to leave Aus­tralia 253 all out.

Adam Vo­ges was 51 not out, with Aus­tralia los­ing their last three wick­ets in 40 min­utes’ play on Satur­day morn­ing.

The vic­tory gave Eng­land their sec­ond suc­ces­sive win in­side three days af­ter they beat Aus­tralia by eight wick­ets to win the third test at Edg­bas­ton last week.

Satur­day’s re­sult also saw Eng­land end a sev­en­match se­quence of al­ter­nat­ing wins and losses as they achieved back-to-back wins in test cricket for the first time this year.

The se­ries con­cludes at The Oval in south Lon­don, where the fifth test be­gins on Au­gust 20.

Clarke had re­fused to be pulled down by Thurs­day’s em­bar­rass­ing trounc­ing, when he would only say: “I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed with how the day has turned out, but it’s only one day down.” He pointed out that Aus­tralia’s bats­men had once again been un­done by the side­ways move­ment of the ball.

“I think we were men­tally up for the fight. Ob­vi­ously it doesn’t look like we were, but I don’t want to take any­thing away from Stu­art Broad, and Eng­land were bril­liant in the field.”

Clarke’s wretched Ashes se­ries con­tin­ued as he fell for 10, caught at first slip by Eng­land cap­tain Alastair Cook off Broad.

It left him with a mea­gre se­ries to­tal of 104 runs in seven in­nings and meant that, in his past 29 knocks at this level the 34-year-old, un­ques­tion­ably one of the best bats­men of his gen­er­a­tion, had reached 25 only six times.

“We tried to de­fend and got out, and we tried to play shots and got out,” said Clarke, whose ca­reer has re­cently been ham­pered by ham­string trou­ble in ad­di­tion to a long-stand­ing back com­plaint.

Clarke took the un­usual step for a test skip­per who hasn’t en­joyed a ma­jor per­sonal per­for­mance of fronting up to the media af­ter the first day.

“That’s as tough a [set of ] bat­ting con­di­tions as I’ve faced,” Clarke told re­porters.

Asked if this had been the worst day of his ca­reer, a rue­ful Clarke said: “It’s up there.

“That and be­ing bowled out for 47 against South Africa [in Cape Town in 2011] is not a nice one to re­mem­ber.”

Yesterday, the skip­per an­nounced he would re­tire from in­ter­na­tional cricket af­ter the fifth Ashes test against Eng­land at The Oval later this month.

“I will have one more test and that is the end of my ca­reer,” said Clarke dur­ing the post-match pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­mony.

“I am re­tir­ing from in­ter­na­tional cricket. I don’t want to jump ship now so I will have one more go at The Oval,” he added af­ter re­ports in Aus­tralian media ear­lier on Satur­day that he was about to end his Aus­tralian ca­reer.

Clarke has made 28 test cen­turies, one short of Aus­tralian bat­ting great Don­ald Brad­man’s tally in his 114-match ca­reer.

Yesterday’s de­feat saw him be­come the first Aus­tralian in more than a cen­tury to lose four suc­ces­sive Ashes se­ries in Eng­land. His test bat­ting av­er­age also dipped be­low 50 for the first time in years. Is An­dre Berto be­ing used as no more than a step­ping stone for Floyd “Money” May­weather Jr to equal Rocky Mar­ciano’s un­beaten record of 49 wins?

Berto will chal­lenge May­weather for the World Box­ing Coun­cil wel­ter­weight and World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion su­per wel­ter­weight ti­tles at the MGM Grand in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada, on Septem­ber 12.

May­weather is un­beaten in 48 pro­fes­sional fights and look­ing to win one last bout to match Mar­ciano’s en­vi­able feat.

“Money” made it clear he was done with box­ing and would only mount one more ti­tle de­fence af­ter de­feat­ing Manny “Pac­man” Pac­quiao by unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion in a con­tro­ver­sial ti­tle de­fence in May.

That fight was the rich­est bout in the sport’s history.

But the ques­tion re­mains whether May­weather’s fi­nal foe, Berto, will of­fer the flam­boy­ant cham­pion a real test in the ring or if he will merely play a bit part to al­low Money to col­lect a few more easy dol­lars to see out his con­tract with Show­time be­fore he bids farewell to a sport he has ad­mit­ted he no longer en­joys.

A look at the record sug­gests Berto is a jour­ney­man who is be­ing used to push May­weather to great­ness.

He seems to pose no se­ri­ous threat to the cham­pion.

Be­sides be­ing un­heard of, Berto has not fought any no­table foe in a ca­reer span­ning 33 pro­fes­sional fights – with 30 wins and three defeats.

He lost to Vic­tor Or­tiz, Robert Guer­rero and Jesús Soto Karass.

In­ci­den­tally, Or­tiz and Guer­rero were beaten at May­weather’s hands.

The 31-year-old Berto, who fights out of Win­ter Haven in Florida in the US, holds the in­terim World Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion wel­ter­weight ti­tle, which he won by beat­ing Jos­esito López in Cal­i­for­nia in March.

Berto also won the In­ter­na­tional Box­ing Fed­er­a­tion crown, which he took from Slove­nian Jan Zaveck in 2011.

No one seems to give Berto much of a chance, but what a twist in the tale it would be if he won.


TAKE THAT An­dre Berto (right), who will be fight­ing Floyd May­weather Jr, lands a punch on Jos­esito López in their wel­ter­weight bout in March. He won the fight by knock­out

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